I'm here to say the chicken schnitzel is the national dish Australia needs.
Sure, we might actually be appropriating it from the Austrians, but the humble crumbed escalope of chicken is the meal that unites a nation.
According to some pretty impressed diners who took to sharing their experience in reviews on Google, Eatons Hotel and the Royal Hotel, both in Bridge Street in Muswellbrook, where among some of the best places in the Upper Hunter to dig into a decent schnitzel.
In Scone, the Belmore Hotel has the "best ever" chicken schnitzel, according to one delighted diner. But the Scone Golf Club and Durham Hotel also received honourable mentions for their schnitzel work.
Singleton's Royal Hotel-Motel, Imperial Hotel, Diggers and Munkeeskins also received favourable reviews from chicken schnitzel connoisseurs.
Don't get us started on the parmi, parma, parmy debate. We've had enough of the potato scallop/cake divide to last us a while.
Indeed, don't even order us a parmi. I reckon a slathering of tomato and cheese actually spoils a good schnitzel. I like mine plain and simple.
So too does renowned Australian cook and author Bill Granger.
"Along with the meat pie, the [chicken schnitzel] has to be Australia's favourite pub food," he says in his 2020 book Australian Food.
"We see a really good chicken schnitty as one of our basic human rights."
He's pimped his version, shared below, with a parmesan crumb and some creamed corn and a heritage tomato salad. A version of it has been on his cafe menus for almost 25 years.
Ross Dobson is another Australian chef who champions the schnitty. In his book Australia, he shares a recipe for the chicken schnitzel sandwich.
"Given the chance, Australians will put anything between two slices of bread."
He also has a recipe for a parmigiana.
Along with the meat pie, this has to be Australia's favourite pub food. We see a really good schnitty as one of our basic human rights.
This is the comfort food of my childhood, updated with a heritage tomato salad.
This schnitty first appeared in Sydney Food, with creamed potato and a crisp fennel salad - it was on our first dinner menu when we opened bills Surry Hills, and it's been there ever since.
1. Place the escalopes between sheets of baking paper on a board and flatten by gently hitting with a rolling pin.
2. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat the milk and egg in another bowl. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper in a third bowl.
3. Dip each chicken escalope in the flour, then the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess.
4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken (you might need to cook in batches to avoid overcrowding) and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
5. Meanwhile, to make the creamed corn, heat the butter in a saucepan until sizzling. Add the onion, garlic and chilli. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the sweetcorn, cover the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until tender. Add the cream and 50ml water and bring to a simmer. Remove one-third of the corn from the pan and blend until smooth. Return the blended corn to the saucepan and mix through. Season well and set aside to cool.
6. For the heritage tomato salad, toss together the tomatoes, onion and parsley with the sumac. Toss with the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.
7. Serve the schnitzels with the creamed corn and tomato salad, with lemon wedges on the side.